"It was a bombshell," says the Saginaw Police Officers Union President Doug Wortley about the possibly disbanding the department. "Our gut reaction, along with all the officers was 'No, we don't want any part of this.'"
Residents feel the same way.
Sunovia Sims says, "We would rather have our own department."
Joseph A. Crockett says, "Smaller is better. Keep Saginaw like it is better than spreading it out."
City Manager Darnell Earley says police and fire account for more than 70% Saginaw's general fund. Roll in the 7.5 public safety millage, and it's 80%. The manager says, with increased costs and inflation, the police and fire budgets could be the entire general fund.
"The time is now. We have to do this. We have to go through these exercises if the city is going to survive long-term and be able to provide these services," says City Manager Darnell Earley.
The city has created a 17-member advisory panel to tackle the issue.
It's discussing possibly combining services, outsourcing services, and going to a regional system.
The police union says it can't be done.
"We don't think that the county can absorb 75 police officers and the city certainly can't contract to 75 officers and have to pay for them. The county can't afford it. They have a special millage. It's a bad idea all around," says Wortley.